Overview

Deborah Mitchell, a north Cornwall potter has her roots in the noble lineage of Cornish studio pottery. Looking at the pottery of Deborah Mitchell we think of goodness and honesty. The term ethical pot was conceived by Oliver Watson to describe a 20th-century trend in studio pottery that favoured plain, utilitarian ceramics. He said the ethical pot, lovingly made in the correct way and with the correct attitude, would contain a spiritual and moral dimension.

Bernard Leach thought pots should be functional, timeless and natural looking. He said that the best pots are simple and quick to make. Mitchell, like Leach favours a pot style which is democratic and is influenced by the Japanese mingei movement which stresses modesty. Pots should also reflect the region they were made in and always be made by hand.

 

Making contemporary pottery with seventeenth century English slipware techniques, Deborah’s literally earthy jugs and bowls with their wood fired glazes and pearly sheen have the rustic heaviness we couple with seasoned timber - oak, willow, ash, and the colours of a nature walk.

 

And her colours are gorgeous: Giorgio Morandi springs to mind. The Italian painter of still lifes had no interest in painting anything other than the vases and cups that were arranged on the table in his flat. A row of Deborah Mitchell jugs in powdery beige browns broken by soft green or naples yellow takes us straight to Morandi’s studio in the ancient town of 19c Bologna. Mitchell’s ambrosial colour palette can also be seen in the French and Spanish pots and rough pitchers painted by Chardin and Luis Melendez - creamy whites, sage greens, conker and aubergine browns - fittingly edible.

Works